I had heard he was there for a over a week before I made it down to Fort Desoto. I headed down to the park early one Saturday morning in late October thinking it would be a needle in the haystack story. As I drove into the park I saw several people with binoculars in a field near the boat ramp. After walking through ankle deep ant infested water (the field was flooded due to recent rains) I found the Vermilion Flycatcher. He was out in the open buzzing from tree to tree so it was pretty easy to spot that flash of red unless you weren’t paying attention and thought it was a cardinal. It was the first time I have heard of one being in the Tampa bay area so there were a lot of people coming through that morning looking for him. He’s a beautiful bird and totally worth enduring the over 50 ant bites.
Otherwise, there were just the usual migrating birds at the park. This female rose breasted grosbeak was very accommodating.
The white pelicans are back but they were across the lagoon. You can tell how much bigger they are than our resident brown pelicans.
Osprey have taken over the park. They are everywhere.
Shorebirds near the fishing pier.
TOTO is still hanging out at the park. He’s got a band on his legs with TOTO. I’ve been taking pictures of him for over 8 years. He’s always there with his girlfriend.
The Flamingo Gardens near Ft. Lauderdale takes in a lot of permanently injured animals to live their lives out here. As I was walking around the aviary this pelican came right up to me as if to say “Come hang out with me.”. It looked like he had an injured wing.
A barred owl with a missing eye.
A few other birds in the aviary.
The white pelicans had very distinctive faces.
The pelicans were nesting and swimming around.
A pretty cattle egret posing for me.
All taken in the permanent injured aviary.
I’ve been recently posting a lot of older pictures on Instagram. If you are over there you can find me at @dinaj1.
It’s rare to see a white pelican in Florida outside of the winter months. Even in the winter you have to hunt for them in central Florida. There’s usually a few that hang out at Lake Morton in Lakeland. These guys were still here in mid-March. They usually leave to head north for the summer in late April. Some of the older ones had already developed that bump on their beaks which they only get during breeding season.
A young one was posing.
Once in a while, a few would take off flying, circle the lake and land back on the lake. I’m going to miss them when they leave but hopefully they’ll be back in fall.
Sailboats far across the bay. The above was taken with my 300mm lens. The below was taken with my phone so you can see how far away they were.
What a perfect winter morning in early February. It was sunny and 72 degrees. I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home after my walk and the park and pier were packed with people hanging out. There was a kiteboarder skimming across the bay in front of the fishing pier and someone flying a kite next to the pier. People were out walking their dogs and kids were playing in the field along the water. Sailboats were cruising by. This was our early spring. Soon it will be too hot and no one will be here but the skeeters and the pigeons
Pigeons in the park. They don’t get a lot of respect but they are really pretty when the sun hits those iridescent feathers.
A pelican flying into the mangroves next to another one that was napping.
White pelicans flying high up over the fishing pier.
A juvenile blue heron looking for food in the muck at low tide.
Nested season had already started for the great blue herons at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Some were just starting to work on nests, some were still showing off for their mate and some were already sitting on eggs.
The permanently injured resident white morph great blue heron was showing his breeding colors in his beak. The colors were really pretty against his white neck.
A caracara yelling at something. It’s rare to see a caracara in the Tampa bay area so this is a new bird for a lot of people They can usually be found more inland in central Florida. unfortunately this bird is here because he was injured out in the wild and lost a wing.
An eagle with a missing wing.
A wild phoebe flew right in front of me and posed so I had to take his picture.
Linking to My Corner of the World.
The Lakeland swans get fed at Lake Morton by the city through stations around the lake. The ducks can’t reach the station but they hang close by hoping to get some droppings.
In the winter you can usually find a few ring billed ducks with the swans.
The lake is mainly full of mute swans but there is also a pair of black neck swans. There are several fully gray swans that people think they are a hybrid of the mute and black swans.
White pelicans were circling around the lake during my recent walk.
Someone was feeding the ducks. People come to feed the ducks and swans but it’s the ibis that steal the food. A few ibis show up and all of sudden tons of them come flying across the lake to get in on the free food. They started attacking the people so they got in their car and left.
Red shoulder hawks are everywhere. Soon they’ll be nesting.
Same for the great blue herons.
The usual turtles and gators.
A few white pelicans fly overhead.
Not sure what this is but I think it’s a cocoon of some kind. How did this bug get those sticks so perfect?
The marsh is full of bur marigolds in November and December.